bradley buchanan



Brother and Border

We never rested till they had built
a wall between us. A family resemblance,
polarized, sent us spinning across
the vast expanse of selfishness
to different countries. We weren’t enemies
except when we were caught in the wrong place.
A biting remark left a scar on my face
but it was really more like a kiss
that had misfired, a flag of truce
shot down at a checkpoint, mistranslated.
Now we are long-standing, faraway allies
with wives who, like embassies, keep us in touch
quite painlessly. Now and then we meet
in our children’s neutral territories
and, instead of telling stories
of how atrociously we fought
we politely admire each others’ mysteries.
Our eyes lock in a strangers’ salute.

Bradley Buchanan's poetry and essays have appeared in more than 160 journals worldwide, among them Canadian Literature, Fulcrum,Twentieth Century Literature, Grain, and the Journal of Modern Literature. He has published two books of poetry: The Miracle Shirker, which won an Honorable Mention in the 2007 Writer’s Digest awards, and Swimming the Mirror, which won a First Prize in the 2009 Writer's Digest awards. He also runs a new operation called Roan Press, Sacramento’s Small Literary Publisher (website, and his most recent book, Oedipus Against Freud, has just appeared from the University of Toronto Press.


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